Nora Singley's Recent Articles
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The Cheesemonger: All About Feta
Stop right there. Before you skip over this post because you (like many others, we’re afraid) have minimal interest in feta, think again. Ubiquitous, yes, but don’t let that tamper with your impression of feta’s gustatory potential. If you think about it, you’ll realize that feta embodies some truly intriguing dualities: it’s briny yet milky, aged yet young, mild yet lingering.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: The Dessert Course
Many times, the best way to end a meal is not with something sweet. And luckily, the European trend to serve cheese as dessert is catching on more and more everyday in this country. We see it in restaurants everywhere, but how can you create your own dessert course at home?Read on for some of our favorite after dinner cheeses and the accompaniments we love to serve alongside.The best part about serving cheese for dessert is that it’s fast and easy.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger meets The Winemonger: A Cheese and Wine Pairing Primer
When it comes to pairing wine and cheese together, there are so few go-to matches. So how do you know when you’ve happened upon a perfect pair? Take a look at our bullet-pointed guidelines, your new, indispensable crib notes to wine and cheese nirvana.First of all, you have to know what to look for. Or rather, what to taste.In a great pairing, you’ll find that the cheese elevates the wine, and vice versa. Their collision should bring out new intricacies and nuances in each other.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: To Rind or Not to Rind?
When it comes to cheese, one of the most oft-asked and misunderstood queries is in regards to rind.There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to the question of The Rind. The first argues that the true essence of a cheese lives within the bounty of its rind, and that it’s therefore not to be skipped. The second supports the act of delving solely into the interior paste, and doing away with the disruptive complexity of its crust.Neither theory is exclusively correct, really.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: Cottage Cheese
Sure, we may never go as far as describing cottage cheese as refined, or elegant, or even complex, but deserving of some air time it is. We hereby extoll its simplicity and versatility and deride its mistaken identity solely as a dieter’s delight.Just what is it, though, how is it made, and what are the best ways to enjoy it?Just the visual sight of cottage cheese is actually a good way to understand the cheesemaking process.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: How to Eat Cheese
The other week we asked our readers to pose any and all questions on cheese to our cheesemonger. (Lines are still open if you have a query of your own.) Herein lies the answer to reader jeffzelli’s question:“It’s a bit embarrassing, but I have to ask: what is the etiquette for eating a cheese flight? My friend and I had a cheese and wine flight at Bin 36 in Chicago a couple of weeks ago.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: Forsterkase
It’s hard to believe we’ve never spoken — not even once — of this cheese, with an appearance almost as arresting as its flavor. It carries a hefty stink and an equally substantial creaminess, an ideal pick for the fall and winter. But what’s that name all about, and why does it have a brown band around its middle?
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: Why Is My Cheese Orange?
Milk is white, so why is some cheese orange? What is the culprit responsible for this color change in cheese and why would some cheesemakers choose to rob their cheese of its natural tint in the first place? (It’s not as devious as it sounds.)Cheese can be colored with a coloring agent called annatto. It’s a natural food coloring that comes from the Annatto (also known as Achiote) tree, grown in the tropical regions of Central and South America.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: Why is Blue Cheese Blue?
Cheese nerds, come hither. Have you ever really thought about why blue cheese is the color that gives it its name? And what’s the key element necessary to activate that blueness?Blue cheeses are unique for many reasons, but most significantly, they stand out from the other families of cheese because of the way they ripen. While most other cheeses are bacteria-ripened, like washed-rind cheeses, blue cheeses ripen from mold activity.
May 3, 2019
The Cheesemonger: All About Manchego
It’s one of the most widely recognized names in the gourmet cheese marketplace. And for good reason. Here, all you’ve ever wanted to know about this Spanish cheese warrior, which has dominated the modern day cheese frontier for a much shorter period of time than it’s actually been around.Characterized by a mildly gamy (think lamb choppy) flavor and a hazelnutty sweetness, Manchego is everywhere.
May 3, 2019
Stinky! A Profile of Washed Rind Cheeses The Cheesemonger
They’re the stinkiest of any cheese you’ll find behind the counter. They’re the ones that make you search your refrigerator for something that’s gone bad. In this week’s Cheesemonger column, a profile on the washed rind family of cheeses: how to pick them out, some of the best even for the non-converts, and understanding the difference between a bad stink and a good one.
May 3, 2019
For The Love of Brie: A Profile of Bloomy Rinded Cheeses The Cheesemonger
It snowed all day yesterday, and now New York is peppered with a downy white coating of fresh snow. So it seems only appropriate to talk about the family of cheese that is most apropos — aesthetically speaking — for the weather: bloomy rinded cheeses. These are the most popular cheeses of all: the bries, the camemberts, and the triple cremes. And after last week’s complete primer on one entire category of cheese, we thought we’d stick to that theme, too.
May 3, 2019
The Fish and Cheese Debate The Cheesemonger
There’s no official legislation outlawing the presence of fish and cheese on the same plate, but for many Italians — and those of us who would wish to remain in their gastronomic good graces — there is no greater offense. To finish a fish-focused pasta with parmigiano would have many an Italian nonna rising from their graves to deliver a hefty slap on the wrist.
May 3, 2019
Cheese That Can’t Stand Alone: 10 Uses for Ricotta Salata The Cheesemonger
There are innumerable cheeses that deserve a singular spotlight, the strong, oh-so-uniquely flavored cheeses that don’t like to share the stage with others, so formidable that they’re best enjoyed on their own, without unnecessary, condimental fanfare. But what about a cheese whose merit, more than anything else, lies in its ability to complement other foods? Here, an intro to ricotta salata, the saltier, aged version of its fresher cohort.
May 3, 2019
Know Your Age: How Understanding Ripeness Can Help You Pick Better Cheese The Cheesemonger
Understanding how cheeses age is about as important as being aware of the difference between a perfectly ripened peach and one that is as hard as a softball. Knowing what’s right is most definitely to your gustatory advantage, no?With just a few tips and facts about how to tell a ripe cheese from one that’s not, you’ll be better equipped to pick out the perfect piece– all by yourself.The most important fact to keep in mind is that cheese ripens from the outside in.
May 3, 2019
Cheese Tip: Don’t Eat Cold Cheese! The Cheesemonger
It’s one of the first tenets of cheese etiquette: don’t eat cheese straight from the fridge. Ever.Cold cheese doesn’t taste like much. But how long should you leave a cheese out? And what’s the one thing not to do when bringing your cheese up to room temperature?Cheese is composed largely of fat. And since fat means flavor, the goal is to amplify it as much as possible. When fat molecules are cold, they contract.
May 2, 2019
The Squeakier the Better: Cheese Curds The Cheesemonger
What’s been largely a dairy belt phenomenon is now steadily making its way to a wider audience of eager eaters. The humble cheese curd is gaining in popularity, with culinary applications that go way beyond the deep fryer.Never had them? Now’s a good a time as any, especially considering their price…Maybe you’ve seen them around, looking much like the picture above, perhaps at street fairs or amusement parks.
May 2, 2019
Cheese: On Melting The Cheesemonger
When cooking with cheese, there’s nothing much worse than choosing the wrong cheese for the wrong application. Mozzarella’s not great as a finisher atop pasta in the same way that parmesan is, for example, because it becomes clumpy and stringy, while a harder cheese like parmesan can become a more cohesive element of the dish. Understanding why cheeses melt in different manners can help keep your fontina on your paninis and your fetas in your salads.
May 2, 2019
Lactose and Cheese: Are You Really Lactose Intolerant? The Cheesemonger
Know anyone who doesn’t eat cheese due to lactose intolerance? Or perhaps you yourself have to turn down cheese because of a lactose allergy? What you probably don’t know is that lactose intolerance should NOT affect cheese consumption. You may actually be suffering from something else!Most cheeses don’t contain lactose! What’s happening when milk turns to cheese is a souring process called acidification, whereby the lactose in milk is converted into lactic acid.
May 2, 2019
Color In the Kitchen: Chinese Porcelain Blue
The blue in this House Beautiful kitchen of the month stopped us in our tracks: Gorgeous! Read on for another photo and more about this deep, deep blue kitchen.You know we love deep blue cabinets (like this peacock blue drama from another House Beautiful kitchen) so this kitchen just made us stop and stare.The architect told House Beautiful that the cobalt blue was found in a piece of Chinese porcelain.
May 2, 2019
Have You Tried: Västerbotten Cheese? The Cheesemonger
It’s hard having a cheesemonger for a daughter. She’s tasted a lot of what’s out there, and (admittedly) can be pretty snobby when it comes to cheese. Take it from my parents, who continually try to impress and please me with new cheeses when I go for visits. (It’s they who have the love affair with Jarlsberg Light, remember that?) But just this week, they made serious progress.
May 2, 2019
Meadowcreek Dairy: Appalachian The Cheesemonger
Look closely. It’s as if I had a premonition that this cheese was rip-open-worthy. See those tear marks on the packaging? They’re for good reason: if you had a hunk of this, you’d be opening it as fast as your little fingers could muster, too.The cheese is Appalachian and it’s made in Galax, Virginia, at an elevation of 2800 feet in southwest Virginia.
May 2, 2019
Yay or Nay? Smoked Cheese The Cheesemonger
We’re purists when it comes to cheese. While we’re willing to offer the occasional exception to horseradish cheddar, a guilty if entirely realized pleasure, the peppercorned, the fruited, and the flavored inspire a resounding, collective “nay.”But what about smoked cheeses? Below, the three cheeses, one of which pictured here, that keep smoked cheeses on our “yay” list.
May 2, 2019
Have Cheese, Will Fly: What Cheeses Travel Well The Cheesemonger
I remember my years behind the cheese counter distinctly. But around the holidays, my days would blur together, with endless hours and perpetual lines of people needing cheese. One question was consistent, anxiety-ridden and almost deja vu-like in its repetitiveness: “I’m flying. I want to bring cheese. But can I?” The simple answer is yes.
May 2, 2019
One-of-a-Kind Triple Creme: Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk
I tasted this cheese two days ago at a dinner party with former cheese colleagues and it stopped us all short. It’s always killer, but this time was different.No better excuse than this week’s column, I thought, to investigate why.I called Cowgirl Creamery and spoke with Vivian Straus, of the Straus Family Creamery, from which the milk comes exclusively for the making of Red Hawk.
May 2, 2019
The Perils and Joys: Cheese Souffl&eacute
Soufflés don’t play the middle ground very well: they’re either good or bad. Your success as creator hinges on the height of the rise (assuming it rises), the fluffiness of that rise, the doneness of the middle, and your ability to feed your guests before the inevitable collapse.With the quaint recipe for one in Judith Jones’ new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, you not only evade the perilous task of making a souffle for 6 or 8, you can also make it tonight.
May 2, 2019
A Welcome Resurgence: Clothbound Cheddar
Look at legendary English cheddars and they all have at least one thing in common: a cloth rind. In recent years, the technique has caught on among a creative handful of domestic cheesemakers, and we couldn’t be more supportive.Why make a particular point of highlighting these types of cheddars in particular? Binding a wheel in cloth makes for a cheese that’s decidedly more rustic, with an almost dusty, pleasantly cellar-like aroma and more pronounced cooked milk flavors.
May 2, 2019
Just Scramble: The Best Cheese for Eggs
With eggs this pretty you don’t want to futz much. Farm-fresh eggs like these need little enhancement — not much more than some butter and a warm pan, unless you’re like me, in which case the thought of eating eggs without cheese will make you very, very sad. Picking a cheese for your eggs might seem like a no-brainer: choose something with meltability that you have on hand.
May 2, 2019
Make Cheese at Home: Fresh Buttermilk Cheese
So easy. Pretty tasty. Endless variations. Never made cheese before? That could change– tonight, if you’d like– and all you need are three ingredients. And we’d bet you already have them waiting for you at home. The process from start to finish? 15 minutes tops.We’ve made fresh cheese before– paneer, queso fresco, ricotta, mozzarella.
May 2, 2019
A Cheese Worth Finding: Jura Erguel
We took a trip to one of our most trusted sources for cheese in Manhattan the other day, looking for a great cheese for beer. What we found did the trick, but it could just as easily stand all by its lonesome, without the aid of any pairing beverage. It’s now officially this cheesemonger’s new favorite cheese. And the story behind it ain’t bad, either.
May 2, 2019
Do You See What I See? A Vision In Taleggio and Honey
Originally, I had planned a post on the magical combination of melted taleggio cheese and honey. I’ll get to that later.But then I noticed a bizarre, incredibly clear image within the swirls of cheese and honey and I couldn’t resist sharing. See it?Maybe it’s just the Leo in me, but I couldn’t ignore the image of a lion in my toast, complete with an exuberant mane, a crooked grin, and two beady eyes. Have I officially lost it?!
May 2, 2019
Take Your Cheddar One Step Further: Cheddar and Green Chile Waffles with Thyme Maple Syrup
Put this recipe at the head of your “To Make” list immediately. It’s ideal for brunch, but if you like breakfast for dinner, then this savory waffle recipe will be seriously soul-satisfying. And the best part? Obviously, it’s the cheese.
May 2, 2019
What You Might Not Know: Not All Cheeses Are Vegetarian!
It’s true! In fact, most cheeses aren’t vegetarian, especially European ones and those that are modeled after Old World recipes and techniques. But don’t start cheese fretting yet — there are tons of great vegetarian cheeses, and with our recommended list in hand you won’t go wrong.First things first: Cheese becomes cheese through a process called acidification.
May 2, 2019
All About Pecorino
What’s in a name, anyway? In this case, pecorino is a very general definition of a style of cheese, but it’s one with an incredible range of flavors.Here, a guide to some of the most popular pecorinos, and what to be wary of, too. With a better grasp of the differences among all the types, you can stop wondering about which kind to grab when you’re cooking or snacking.The word “pecorino” comes from “pecora,” meaning sheep, in Italian.
May 2, 2019
(Four) Variations on a Theme: Ploughman’s Lunch
Without knowing it, we all probably have a ploughman’s lunch pretty regularly. It’s basically a deconstructed cheese sandwich: a hunk of cheese, a knob of rustic bread, sometimes some greens, sometimes some meat, a tangy pickle of sorts or some kind chutney-like condiment, and an apple. And a beer on the side. Imagine a kid’s lunchbox, and it’d probably contain a lot of the same components. Well, except for the beverage.
May 2, 2019
Some Black with Your Blue? Charcoal Crackers
Have you ever seen these crackers? More importantly, do you know what they look like outside of the box?They’re different-looking, very tasty, and according to the package, they’re even “elegant.” I’ve been meaning to write about these crackers for awhile, partly becaues I think a good cracker — like, really good, deserving of a prime spot next to some cheese — is hard to come by.
May 2, 2019
Can You, Should You Freeze Cheese? On Freezing Cheese
Some say freezing cheese is sacrilege, some think it’s only logical. On what side do you fall? And from a cheese professional’s point of view, what’s the reasoning for taking or not taking the icy plunge? I’m pretty definitive on the issue: Don’t freeze your cheese! But, as in most cheese matters, all rules are up to interpretation. So perhaps I should restate. Don’t freeze fine cheese.
May 2, 2019
Why Does My Cheese Look Wet?
Does your cheese do this? If you’re a big cheese eater, tear-like dew drops on the surface of your cheese probably look pretty familiar, especially if your cheese has been sitting out for awhile. What exactly is happening and is there some way to make your cheese behave? Cheese is made up primarily of coagulated milk solids, or curd.
May 2, 2019
On Pasteurizing Cheese: Why Do It?
Any hardcore cheese lover will tell you that raw milk cheese — that is, cheese that is unpasteurized — is better. Hands down. No question. Not even worth a discussion.So if raw milk cheese tastes so much better, why oh why would cheesemakers choose to pasteurize? What are the advantages, and are all forms of pasteurization created equal?First things first: Pasteurization is a heat treatment that kills the naturally occurring bacteria found in unpasteurized (that is, raw) milk.
May 2, 2019
This Mold’s Fur Real: Cheese Mold in Bloom
Nope, this picture isn’t out of focus, the cheese is truly as fuzzy as it looks. The French call it cat fur, or poil de chat. And for good reason, as the mold on this particular family of cheese is pretty reminiscent of the coat of your furry friend. But don’t fear: it’s a mold that belongs to one of the most coveted types of cheese, and without it, there would be many sad cheese lovers, indeed.
May 2, 2019
A Texan Star: Hoja Santa Goat Cheese
It’s scorching hot in New York City. Not exactly the kind of weather that invokes cheese cravings. Or is it? Leave it to a cheese from Texas to fit the bill during this crazy hot weather. The details: lemony, light, and refreshing — yes, refreshing — cute-as-can-be in its leaf wrapper.
May 2, 2019
Why is Goat Cheese Always White?
Perhaps it’s the white party that I attended last weekend that inspired this post, but have you ever noticed that all goat cheeses are super white? Even those that have spent some time aging remain white, which is odd, considering that aging typically intensifies the color of cheese.Why oh why?Interestingly enough, goat milk lacks beta carotene, that deeply pigmented agent which lends rich golden tones in most cheese, particularly those made with cow milk.
May 2, 2019
The Ultimate: Giant Cheese Popovers
We’ve written about popovers before. But have you ever had cheesy popovers? So easy, we promise. And even more impressive.Popover batter is essentially the same as crepe batter. But while the crepe is by nature totally flat, a popover is anything but.The pop-ability of a popover relies on high heat and a tall, narrow cooking vessel. A popover pan encourages steam, as does the wet batter.
May 2, 2019
Found: The Cheese Knife
This knife may not be the most beautiful of its kind, but the functionality is pretty outstanding. So much so that you may even dismiss the eyesore factor. It slices the most soft, sticky cheeses into beautiful slices with incredible, stick-less ease. And if you surround it with lots of beautiful cheese, who’s looking, anyway?The name of the knife is The Cheese Knife. And it glides through cheese like air.
May 2, 2019
Booze’s Best Bud: Drunken Goat Cheese
Some cheeses have natural pairing affinity for beverages of all types and would go equally well with a beer as with a glass of cranberry juice. Other cheeses are just better enjoyed on their own. And then there are the cheeses that are made to match with wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, or anything else potent, as if it’s their destiny to play the role of pairing partner to your Happy Hour beverage.
May 2, 2019
Word of Mouth: Affinage
Considering that this week is French Week at the kitchn, it seemed only sensical to talk about the great act of affinage, an art that’s arguably just as important to the outcome of a cheese as the cheesemaking itself. And thanks to the French, we have a new vocab word to learn.Affinage is the act of aging cheeses. An affineur is the craftsperson who cares for cheeses after they’re made.
May 2, 2019
Another Way to Salt: Pecorino Romano
It’s stupefying sometimes how salt is so critical to making flavors pop. And if you’re a salt fiend, “critical” is probably an understatement. In essence, salt is a booster of all things delicious.But what if you could boost your food in a different kind of way by varying how your salt makes its way into your food? Like, with cheese.
May 2, 2019
Pecorino Cacio di Roma: A Find for Sheep Lovers
Last week we covered Pecorino Romano. Great for cooking, but for eating? Not so much. If you love pecorino on the table as much as in the dish, check out this week’s feature. It’s a little trickier to find, but Italian specialty stores should have it. And since it’s the main feature of one of the most classic Roman pasta recipes around, you won’t be sorry to have made an effort to seek it out.
May 2, 2019